There are two problems around weight-gain diets that are written for skinny guys:
They contain a huge number of meals. Eating more meals is beneficial, but the majority of people are not willing to put in the time to prepare and consume 7 - 10 meals of solid food a day. This is especially true if you dedicate a lot of your time to your career or schoolwork and have a priority outside of getting big.
In order to cut down on the number of meals and total volume of food to be consumed for growth, people will eat a lot of junk food on a daily basis to make up for the calories. The problem with this approach is it leaves your mind feeling tired and lethargic from constantly having to digest food, and it makes you gain unnecessary fat and water weight from the high sodium and sugar content.
The diet that I've designed takes into consideration your daily work obligations that involve the heavy use of your brain. Notice how the bulk of the carbs come in later in the day. When you eat a big plate of pasta or rice before bed, you will also feel sleepier and more restful (from the feel-good chemicals that come from eating a lot of carbs).
3 meals of solid food a day and 2 high calorie shakes is extremely do-able, regardless of what your work schedule looks like. The food is also extremely easy to prepare and hardly takes any time.
There's one thing that all skinny guys have in common - THEY DON'T EAT ENOUGH FOOD.
You may say, "But I eat so much, but I just can't seem to grow." If you're rail-thin and you're struggling to put on weight, you need to focus on eating as many calories as you possibly can.
Forget about eating clean as a whistle. Focus on eating food that are high in calories and eating often throughout the day. In an ideal situation, you would try to minimize sodium and sugar intake in addition to eating veggies or drinking a green juice at least once a day.
Pasta, Rice, Oatmeal
Milk, Ice Cream (in moderation, for calories)
Chicken, Steak, Pork, Ground Beef (80% lean or leaner)
Butter, Peanut Butter (for fats)
Eggs, Egg White Cartons, Cheese
Microwavable Mixed Veggies
Honey (for calories)
Hot Sauce, Seasonings (For Flavor)
You want to make a considerable effort to increase the total volume of food you shove down your throat on a daily basis and make the attempt to make each meal as high in calories as possible.
Make use of Shakes for Extra Calories:
Let's be honest. Eating 6 - 8 high calorie meals a day is pretty hard and awfully inconvenient. While you can't cheat yourself out of eating less food, there is a way to make the meals more bearable.
Let's say you have 6 meals a day totaling to 5,000 calories. Instead, replace two of the meals with shakes that are equaling to 1,500 calories each and just eat solid food to make up for the other 2,000 - 3,000 calories.
The problem with most weight gainer shakes and protein powders that you find at grocery stores is that they contain mostly sugar and filled with all kinds of junk. The reason they "work" is because they are high in calories (of pure sugar/garbage) and more calories lead to weight gain.
Instead of buying a mystery powder full of sugar and garbage, you can make your own shake. It will still taste good, be high in calories, and everything in it is going to help your body grow.
ModafinilExpert Weight-Gain Shake Recipe:
2 cups of dry oatmeal (600 calories)
2 - 3 cups of whole milk (450 calories)
1 banana (~100 calories)
2 tbsp of peanut butter (~200 calories)
ice cream (~400 calories)
Blend all of that up in a blender and pour it into a tall glass to drink out of.
If you want, you can add a scoop of ice cream on top or some whipped cream.
All in all we're looking at a good 1600 - 2000 calories per shake! You want to play around with the amount of milk you add to get a nice milkshake consistency and just chug it. The best part about this shake is that almost everything in it is good clean food that is going to help you grow. (The ice cream and peanut butter is just for extra calories). If you want, you can add less oatmeal or less milk to bring it down closer to 1,000 calories. It's up to you!
If you drink that twice a day, you only need to eat 2 or 3 more meals to get an easy 5,000 calories in a day!
But won't I just get fat?
This approach to eating is not meant for heavy set people who gain weight easily. If you are the kind of person who puts on fat easily and you follow this, then YES you will get fat.
Rather, this type of approach is meant for younger guys with supercharged metabolisms!! The kind of guy thats been skinny his whole life and has a hard time putting on muscle.
If you're lifting weights hard 4 or 5 times a week and you're playing sports/doing any form of cardio in addition to that, all those extra calories are going to get converted into muscle!
Your body has a tendency to stay in a state of homeostasis. By jacking up the number of calories you consume and significantly increasing the volume of food you eat, and pushing your body harder in the weight room, your body will have no choice but to grow!
Meal #5: Pasta w/Sauce, any 6 oz. any meat/fish of your choice, Oysters
That's an easy 5,000 calories a day and you'll notice that not only do the food choices taste good, they're also packed with nutrients. The only real "junk" is the ice cream and the peanut butter that we add to the milkshakes. But its not going to harm you.
Feel free to replace the ground beef with chicken or pork or fish, just make sure it contains as much protein and the same amount of total calories.
Notice that there isn't any pizza, hamburgers, or hot dogs in there. I purposefully avoided making them a part of the diet because they're absolutely loaded with salt. If you make them a part of your diet on a regular basis, you will start to look fatter (the salt your body to hold excess water and look soft).
Your main source of calories is going to come from your carbs - oatmeal and pasta for the most part.
As far as training is concerned, follow the principles I laid out
There's no particular program or manual you have to live by for the weight training, rather you have to get accustomed to training with instinct and hammering the bodyparts with high volume.
This diet has been specially designed this for brain optimization as well! The first meal of the day is packed full of protein and fats, and has zero carbs. This means you won't feel sleepy or lethargic or experience any kind of sugar crash early in the morning!
Mornings are prime time for putting in work and you want to feel energized and awake - not jittery or drowsy!
The standard American breakfast is packed with a ton of sugar that is going to undoubtedly lead you to feeling drowsy several hours down the road from coming down off that insulin high! Ever wonder why productivity tends to dip around 12 - 2 PM in corporate offices?
Your first meal is going to keep you feeling full for a few hours and leave your mind sharp for getting work done!
Seasoning Your Meats:
Seasoning your meat for enhanced flavor is highly recommended. There are no restrictions on what seasonings you can or can't use, but there is one thing we're going to keep in mind
Whenever possible, go with a seasoning that has minimal/no sodium.
One example of this is choosing garlic powder over garlic SALT. One tastes good and contains no sodium, while one tastes just as good but contains a huge amount of salt.
The reason for this is when you're eating a lot of salt in addition to a lot of calories, you are going to look significantly chubbier in the mirror. It will look like you gained 5 pounds of fat overnight, but it is actually just water.
This isn't that big of a deal all by itself in the long run (you can lose the water weight fairly quickly by cleaning up your diet), it is still very demoralizing to look/feel like a fatty during the growing phase.
Do I need to count or measure out my macros?
If you're a skinny guy, the key to getting bigger is eating a lot of calories, high carbs, enough protein, and enough fats to keep your testosterone levels from dipping. You don't need to eat 2x your bodyweight in grams of protein.
0.8 x target bodyweight in pounds = the minimum of protein you need. So if your target bodyweight is 180 lbs, you need ~144 grams of protein, which you can easily get out of food.
The eggs and the butter will give you enough fat and the rest is high carb so you don't need to measure anything out. The only thing I keep in mind is a ballpark number of calories per meal (I eyeball it) and a rough estimate of the amount of protein by looking at it. As long as you're getting ~enough calories and ~enough protein, you're good.
Scaling Up and Gradual Increase:
If you're currently eating 2,000 calories a day, does it seem realistic to bump it up to 5,000 calories/day overnight?
You're going to gradually bump up your calories every few days so that your body has time to adjust to it and you gradually learn how to structure your day around your eating as well. The key to getting this is consistency!
You can start at a base amount of calories and gradually work your way up over time.
What About Cardio?
In an ideal situation to get the best possible results, you would do 30 minutes of some form of cardio. Ideally, this would be done completely separate from the weight training. Personally, I like to do it first thing in the morning. The cardio will speed up your metabolism and help your body digest the food faster. In addition to that, it clears up your mind and gets your cardiovascular system going which enables you to focus with a clear mind for the day ahead.
From a strict muscle building perspective, you don't HAVE to do it if you're a skinny guy with a fast metabolism. I only started doing it regularly semi-recently and have experienced a ton of other benefits by doing it.
It's not mandatory to do cardio along with this program in order to make gains, but I still recommend it because it makes a huge difference for your sense of overall health and well being.
What Happens if My Waist Starts Getting Too Big?
If you're a skinny guy and you follow the diet the way I have it written out, you won't have to worry about getting a thick waist because of it. If you start eating chips and cheeseburgers and start introducing a high amount of sodium into your diet, then you will LOOK a lot chubbier due to all the water retention caused by the salt.
Potato Chips, Hamburgers, Pizza, and Donuts aren't "off limits" by any means, but I highly discourage against making them a part of your daily diet because there are superior alternatives that are much more nutritionally dense and are less likely to turn into fat.
There is a huge difference between eating
2,000 calories of oatmeal, milk, bananas, peanut butter, and eggs
as opposed to
2,000 calories of pizza, hot dogs, and fast food burgers
Once you've cut the majority of the high sodium processed junk food out, if you're still putting on a noticeable amount of fat, its because of one of the following reasons:
You don't have a fast metabolism. You're were not a naturally skinny guy to begin with.
You don't lift weights or do some form of resistance training with high intensity. You're going too easy on yourself.
You need to add in a little bit of cardio
But 5,000 calories is too much! Why do I have to eat so much??
You thought putting on a significant amount of muscle in a relatively short period of time came easy?
There are ways to make the results come quicker but it always involves putting in MORE WORK.
If you're eating 5,000 calories a day, it's impossible for your body to not grow. And because of your fast metabolism and the resistance training, your body will have no choice but to burn through that fuel and use it to build muscle tissue.
This is how you use your fast metabolism to your advantage instead of having it work as a curse.
If you're currently eating 2,000 calories a day, bump it up to 2,400 calories a day and plan out your meals using the foods I listed above. Every week or two, bump your calories up by another 400. Work your way up to 5,000 and continue to lift weights 4 to 5 days a week. Focus on one or two body parts per workout and focus on using a medium weight and lifting them in a controlled manner for as many reps as you possibly can.
The high volume workouts in addition to the cardio will turn your body into a muscle building machine whose only limiting factor is the amount of food that it takes in.
The laws of physics demand that in order for a physically larger organism to continue to hold their mass, they must consume a proportionate amount of food.
People that are physically larger and hold more muscle mass also need to eat significantly more food than the average person in order to maintain their mass. This applies even more when you have a fast metabolism. If you make a lot of gains through a high calorie diet, and all of a sudden you stop eating, guess what happens?
Over time, you will steadily start losing weight.
This is the exact diet and workout regimen that I started right around the time I retired from high school wrestling. Even though I had been lifting for 2 years prior to that, this program allowed me to put on 30 lbs of size (25 lb of which were muscle) in a mere 6 months.
Once I put on the size, I didn't continue to eat that much food on a regular basis. I dropped my calories down to about 3,000 a day and started working out a couple times a week. After keeping this up for a while, I was able to walk around at a lean 155 lbs with very little effort. I lost about 7 or 8 pounds (was 163 at the end of the diet) of water and fat once I calmed down on the eating.
I couldn't afford weight gainer or protein powder or creatine and I didn't even have access to a commercial gym with barbells and huge weights.
All I had to work with was a pull up bar, a backpack which I could fill with weights, a few dumbbells, and a flat bench. Since I couldn't get bigger dumbbells, I made up for it by doing an endless amount of reps with the 40 lb. and 10 lb. dumbbells. When I started, I could do about 10 wide grip pull ups. By the end of those 6 months, I could do 15 wide grip pull ups with perfect form with a 50 lb. backpack on my back.
In retrospect, I'm glad that I didn't have access to everything I wanted because it put my on a road to learn how to train and grow with the basics - high volume training and eating a lot of solid food.